Vastavam web: The government is hopeful that the strategic Chabahar Port will be operational by 2018, Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said.The Road, Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari is in Tehran today to represent India at the oath taking ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier congratulated Rouhani on his re-election as the President of Iran and affirmed India’s commitment to strengthen the special relations between the countries.Gakdari is keen on expediting development of the Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast that can be easily accessed from India’s west coast, bypassing Pakistan.
The visit assumes significance as India has accelerated work at the Chabahar port and finalized some tenders for installation of key equipment at Chabahar Port.The minister has said that he was also hopeful of certain approvals from the Iranian government for expediting work and added that once Chabahar becomes operational the trade and business between both the nations would see a boost.For greater trade and investment flow with Iran and neighboring countries, the Cabinet last year cleared propsals for development of Chabahar port including through a USD 150 million credit from Exim Bank.As per the MoU signed between the two nations in May last year, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of USD 85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a 10-year lease.
Ownership of equipment will be transferred to Iranian side on completion of 10 years or for an extended period, based on mutual agreement. The Iranian side had requested for provision of a credit of USD 150 million in accordance with the MoU.